William C. Friday Distinguished Professor of English
B.A., Wheaton College, 1963
Language variation, Ethnic dialects of American English, African American English, Dialect recesssion, Dialect awareness and education, Dialect and the public interest
Walt Wolfram is William C. Friday Distinguished University Professor at North Carolina State University, where he also directs the North Carolina Language and Life Project. He has pioneered research on social and ethnic dialects since the 1960s and published more than 20 books and more than 300 articles. Over the last two decades, he and his students have conducted more than 2,500 sociolinguistic interviews with residents of North Carolina and beyond. Current research supported by National Science Foundation grants have included the longitudinal development of African American English during the first 20 years and the emergence of Hispanicized English in the Southeastern US. Professor Wolfram is particularly interested in the application of sociolinguistic information for public audiences, including the production of a number of television documentaries, the construction of museum exhibits, and the development of an innovative social studies dialect awareness curricula endorsed by the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction. He has received numerous awards, including the Caldwell Humanities Laureate from the NC Humanities Council, the Holladay Medal at NC State, and the Linguistics, Language and the Public Award from the Linguistic Society of America, as well as the NC State Alumni Association Research Award, the Graduate Professor Award, and the Extension and Engagement Award. He has also served as President of the Linguistic Society of America, the American Dialect Society, and the Southeastern Conference on Linguistics.
Download Recent Publications and Presentations
Below, download selected recent/forthcoming publications and presentations:
Presentations and Webinars
Integrating Language Variation into TESOL: Challenges from English Globalization
Coming of age in African American English: A longitudinal Study
Fieldwork Methods in Language Variation
Interview with Walt Wolfram
Operationalizing Linguistic Gratuity from Principle to Practice
Sociolinguistic Folklore in the Study of African American English
Forthcoming 2013. Wolfram, Walt, and Natalie Schilling-Estes. American English: Dialects and Variation. Third edition. Cambridge/Oxford: Basil Blackwell.
Forthcoming 2013. Wolfram, Walt, and Jeffrey Reaser. Talkin' Tar Heel: Voices of North Carolina. Chapel Hill. University of North Carolina Press.
Wolfram, Walt, and Erik R. Thomas. 2002. The Development of African American English. Malden/Oxford: Basil Blackwell. Pp. 237
Wolfram, Walt, Clare Dannenberg, Stanley Knick, and Linda Oxendine. 2002. Fine in the World: Lumbee Language in Time and Place. Raleigh: NC State Humanity Extension Program/Publications. Pp. 93
Wolfram, Walt. Language awareness in community perspective: Obligations and opportunity. In Robert Bayley, Richard Cameron, and Ceil Lucas (eds.), Handbook of Sociolinguistics. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Wolfram, Walt (with John R. Rickford). Formal instruction in oral language (as a second dialect) National Research Council Workshop on Language Development. California: National Academy of Science.
Wolfram, Walt. The supra-regional development of African American Vernacular English. In Arthur K. Spears, James de Jongh, Carole M. Berotte Joseph (eds.), Language and African Diaspora Culture
Wolfram, Walt. LAVIS: A review and critique. In Michael D. Picone and Catherine Evans Davies (eds.), Language Variety in the South: Historical and Contemporary Perspectives. Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press.
Wolfram, Walt. Sociolinguistic engagement in community perspective. In Michael D. Picone and Catherine Evans Davies (eds.), Language Variety in the South: Historical and Contemporary Perspectives. Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press
Wolfram, Walt. Studying vernacular dialects. In Marianna Di Paolo and Arthur K. Spears (eds.), Increasing Language Diversity in Linguistic Courses: Practical Approaches and Materials.Columbus: Ohio State University Press.
Wolfram, Walt. The dynamic development of socioethnic varieties of English in North America. In Dani Schreier and Marianna Hundt (eds.), English as a Contact Language. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Wolfram, Walt. African American Speech in Southern Appalachia. In Nancy Hayward and Amy Clark (eds.), Appalachian Englishes. University of Kentucky Press.
Wolfram, Walt, Mary Kohn, and Erin Callahan-Price. forthcoming. Southern-bred Hispanic English: An emerging variety.Cascadilla
Wolfram, Walt. Community commitment and social responsibility. In JK Chambers and Natalie Schilling (eds.), Handbook of Language Variation and Change, 2nd edn. Malden/Cambridge: Wiley/Blackwell.
Wolfram, Walt. Integrating language variation into TESOL: Challenges from English globalization. In Ahmar Mahboob and Lestlie Barratt (eds.), English(es) in a Multicultural Context. New York: Springer.
Wolfram, Walt. The sociolinguistic construction of African American Language. forthcoming. In Sonja Lanehart, Lisa Green, and Jennifer Bloomquist (eds.), The Oxford Handbook on African American Language. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Wolfram, Walt, and Mary E. Kohn. forthcoming. The regional development of African American Language. In Sonja Lanehart, Lisa Green, and Jennifer Bloomquist (eds.), The Oxford Handbook on African American Language. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Wolfram, Walt. You don't sound like me: Challenging language differences in the classroom. Teaching Tolerance 49
Wolfram, Walt. 2012. Connecting with the public. In the Profession. Journal of English Linguistics 40:111-17.
Wolfram, Walt. 2012. What is 'speaking in tongues'? In E.M. Rickerson and Barry Hilton (eds.). The 5-Minute Linguist: Bite-sized Essays on Language and Linguistics. Second edition. Bristol: Equinox. 106-09.
Wolfram, Walt. 2012. Why do American Southerners talk that way? In E.M. Rickerson and Barry Hilton (eds.). The 5-Minute Linguist: Bite-sized Essays on Language and Linguistics. Second edition. Bristol: Equinox. 132-35.
Wolfram, Walt. 2012. Are dialects dying? In E.M. Rickerson and Barry Hilton (eds.). The 5-Minute Linguist: Bite-sized Essays on Language and Linguistics. Second edition. Bristol: Equinox. 196-99.
Wolfram, Walt, Mary Kohn, and Erin Callahan-Price. 2011. Southern-bred Hispanic English: An emerging variety. In Jim Michnowitz and Robin Dodsworth (eds.), Cascadilla: Selected Proceedings of the 5th workshop on Spanish Sociolinguistics 5:1-13.
Wolfram, Walt. 2011. The African American English canon in sociolinguistics. In Michael Adams and Anne Curzan (eds.), Contours of English and English Language Studies. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press. 34-52.
Wolfram, Walt. 2011. Field methods. In Ruth Wodak, Barbara Johnstone, and Paul Kerswill (eds.), Handbook on Sociolinguistics. Sage Publications. 296-312.
Wolfram, Walt. 2011. Review of Nancy C. Dorian, Investigating variation: The effects of social organization and social setting. Language 87:904-8.
Wolfram, Walt. 2010. The African American English canon in sociolinguistics. In Michael Adams and Anne Curzan (eds.), Contours of English and English Language Studies. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press.
Wolfram, Walt. 2010. Field methods. In Ruth Wodak, Barbara Johnstone, and Paul Kerswill (eds.), Handbook on Sociolinguistics. Sage Publications. 296-312.
Wolfram, Walt. 2010. Epilogue to Valuable Voices: Understanding English Language Variation in American Schools. New York: Columbia University Press. 151-52.
Wolfram, Walt. 2010. Collaborative issues in language variation documentaries. Language and Linguistic Compass. 4(9):293-303.
Wolfram, Walt. 2010. Celebrating Linguistic Diversity. Wheaton Alumni Magazine Spring, p. 51.
Van Hofwegen, Janneke, and Walt Wolfram. 2010. Coming of age in African American English: A longitudinal study. Journal of Sociolinguistics 14:27-52.
Wolfram, Walt. 2009. African American English and the Public Interest. In Jo Anne Kleifgen and George Bond, eds. The Languages of African and the Diaspora: Educating for Language Awareness. Clevedon, UK: Multilingual Matters. 249-69.
Adger, Carolyn, Walt Wolfram, and Donna Christian. Dialects in Schools and Communities, Second edition. Mahweh: Erlbaum. (forthcoming)
Wolfram, Walt. 2009 Caldwell Award Acceptance Speech. North Carolina Conversations: A Publication of the North Carolina Humanities Council (Winter 2009): 4-5.
Wolfram, Walt. 2009. Dialect awareness, cultural literacy, and the public interest. In Marcia Farr, Lisya Seloni, and Juyoung Song, eds. Ethnolinguistic Diversity and Education: Language, Literacy, and Culture. New York/London: Routledge. 129-49.
Kendall, Tyler and Walt Wolfram. 2009. Local and external language standards in African American English. Journal of English Linguistics 37:5-30.
Wolfram, Walt. 2008. Language diversity and the public Interest. In Kendall King, Natalie Schilling-Estes, Jia Jackie Lou, and Barbara Soukup (eds.), Sustaining Linguistic Diversity: Endangered and Minority Language and Language Varieties. Washington, DC: Georgetown University Press. 187-202.
Wolfram, Walt. 2008. Diffusion. In Patrick C. Hogan (ed.), Cambridge Encyclopedia of Language Sciences. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Wolfram, Walt. 2008. When islands lose dialects: The case of the Ocracoke Brogue. Shima: The International Journal for Research on Island Cultures. 2:1-13.
Wolfram, Walt. 2008. American English since 1865. In Harulo Momma and Michael Matto, eds., Blackwell Companion to the History of the English Language. Malden/Oxford. Blackwell. 254-73.
Wolfram, Walt, Jeffrey Reaser, and Charlotte Vaughn. Operationalizing linguistic gratuity: from principle to practice. Linguistic and Language Compass 3.1109-34.
Wolfram, Walt, and Natalie Schilling-Estes. 2008. An interview with Walt Wolfram. Journal of English Linguistics 36:254-71.
Wolfram, Walt. Ethnic varieties. In Carmen Llamas, Louise Mullany, Peter Stockwell (eds.), The Routledge Companion to Sociolinguistics. Routledge. 77-83.
Wolfram, Walt. 2007. African American English. In Braj B. Kachru, Yamuna Kachru, & Cecil L. Nelson (eds.), Handbook of World Englishes. Malden/Oxford: Blackwell. 328-45.
Wolfram, Walt. 2007. The North Carolina Language and Life Project. In Michael Montgomery and Ellen Johnson. (eds.). Language, in The Encyclopedia of Southern Culture. Oxford: University of Mississippi Press. 159-61.
Wolfram, Walt. 2007. The Outer Banks. In Michael Montgomery (ed.). Language, in The Encyclopedia of Southern Culture. Oxford: University of Mississippi Press. 104-5.
Wolfram, Walt. 2007. Sociolinguistic myths in the study of African American English. Linguistic and Language Compass 2: 292-313.
Download CV [ 186KB ]
ENG 525: Variety of English
See the courses page for sample syllabi from courses in years past.
NC State football and basketball, yo-yoing, babysitting young 'uns
Executive Producer, Spanish Voices. Raleigh, NC: North Carolina Language and Life Project
Co-Producer of CD (with the Ocracoke Preservation Society, Jeff Reaser, Paula Dickerson),
Executive Producer, The Carolina Brogue. Raleigh, NC: North Carolina Language and Life
Principal Investigator, Frank Porter Graham, "The Longitudinal Development of African
Co-Principal Investigator. "Voices of North Carolina in the Classroom: School/University
Principal Investigator. "Dialect Loss and Innovation: Documentaries and Outreach Program."
Co-Principal Investigator (with Erik Thomas). Old and New Ethnic Dialect Development in the
Principal Investigator. "A Longitudinal Study of African American Literate Language through
Awards and Honors
The Linguistic Society of America biennial Award "Linguistics, Language, and the Public"
The John Tyler Caldwell Award for the Humanities, (the NC Humanities Council Humanities
Linguistic Society of America Fellow (inducted in inaugural class of Fellows, 2006)
Honorary member, Golden Key International Honour Society, North Carolina State Chapter, 2003
NC State Alumni Outstanding Research Award, 1995-96
College of Humanities and Social Sciences (CHASS) Distinguished Research Award 1995-96
CHASS Alumni Distinguished Graduate Professorship Award, NCSU 1994-95
NCSU Linguistics | NCLLP | Tompkins Hall | Campus Box 8105 | Raleigh, NC 27695-8105
919/515-4151 | walt_wolfram at ncsu dot edu